Monday, January 10, 2011

Castles & Crusades: Highlights and Lowlights of an RPG

This post was originally going to be titled "Things about C&C that irritate me" but that seemed like an overly negative post for a game that I don't actually hate, so I added a few of the things that aren't sucky down at the bottom.  Which is to say that if the "Things about C&C that are kinda' cool" seem like an afterthought it's because, well, they were. 

Things about C&C that make me cringe: 

Rogues--What exactly are rogue's tools?  A feathered cap to be worn rakishly askew?  A rolled up sock for augmenting your cod piece?  C'mon guys, you brought back illusionists and Glaive-guisarmes but you couldn't find it in you to resuscitate thieves?
SIEGE engine--Why is SIEGE in all caps?  Is it an acronym for something?  An encrypted message? A cry for help?
Prime Attributes--There's already a mechanism in place for determining how well someone does at attribute-based tasks; it's called an attribute score.    
Peter Bradley--The game is thoroughly saturated with Peter B's graphic stylings.  Indeed, C&C rulebooks are a veritable monoculture of half tone heroes captured in spasm-inducing poses, tight trousers, and cumbersome footwear.  In the Bradleyverse, the sun is a dying orb whose cold rays provide a warmth too meager to sustain mirth of any sort. It is a realm where heroes seek out isolated locales to contemplate their unfortunate wardrobe choices and where experience point bonuses are granted for crafting odes to things unworthy of oding.   
Alea Iacta Est--In their eagerness to portray themselves as a buncha' pretentious douchebags, the Troll Lords uncovered an exception to the maxim that anything that sounds cool in English sounds even cooler in Latin.  Say "the die is cast" and "alea iacta est" out loud.  One sounds like something a badass mo'fo might say on the brink of a showdown, but the other is merely a cumbersome mishmash of consonant-deficient syllables the utterance of which will inspire your enemies and friends alike to slap you down, wrench your underpants up to the nape of your neck, and take your lunch money.
Wisdom--It measures your ability to use good judgment, how acute your senses are, how well you resist confusion, spells, and gaze attacks, and it also "represents a spiritual connection to a deity."  You can also stack the dirty dishes in it after dinner until such time as you feel like cleaning them.
Illusionists--Not really C&C's fault, but what's the advantage of a character class that's like a wizard, but has a more limited spell selection? At least the C&C version does not try to pass illusionist off as a prestige class by insisting that they have an excessively high dexterity score.
Overwrought flavor text--"From the maelstrom of war and conflict great warriors arise blah blah blah..." I can imagine the guy who narrates all the movie trailers recording the audiobooks version of the C&C PHB.
Excessive Polearms--Caught following too closely in the footsteps of AD&D, C&C offers us 15 unpronounceable and indiscernible pole-mounted weapons that completely fail to be of interest to anyone who isn't a medieval weaponry fascist.    

Things about C&C that are kinda' cool:

Character Sheets--They're by Darlene!

Ascending AC--I have to admit, C&C was the first place I heard of such a thing--sort of--and I was not repulsed.
Cheap Books--Of course this loses its significance once you've bought them.  In fact, when considering C&C vs. a game for which you had to shell out 40 bones per tome, you might play the pricey one more often just to get your money's worth. 
k.d. lang--Tell me, is the bard on page 114 of the C&C PHB as well as on the cover of the Monsters & Treasure book not inspired by the sapphic songstress ca. 1995? 
Hags--Have you seen these babes in the Monster & Treasure book?  With the exception of the Night Hag--who sports the quintessential warts and cronish hideousness--they all look sort of like that waitress at Hooters that you and your friends stiffed on the tip that one night back in college. 
The Bald Monk--Mr. Miyagi! 
Gnomes--I thought there was something kinda' cool about gnomes.  Maybe not.


Dr Rotwang said...

I ♥ me some C&C, warts and all, so now we must fite.

Seriously, I get what you're saying. The stuff I don't like? I ignore. Kinda like ya would in AD&D...

Timrod said...

We will duel, Doc!